Saturday, 21 April 2018

Nils Mönkmeyer - Baroque

Rating: 2/5

Not for me

This is an interesting idea but for me it doesn't make a very satisfactory disc. 

The centrepiece of this programme is Bach's 5th Cello Suite. Arrangements of Bach often work very well and are very much in the composer's own idiom.  However, I don't think the addition of a continuo part to this most intense and inward-looking of the Suites works well at all here.  For me it rather trivialises the powerful spirituality of the work, and the wonderful Sarabande, especially, is robbed of much of its depth and impact.  Nor do I like the idea of having each movement played twice in succession, once with continuo and once simply transposed for solo viola; it just sounds very odd to me and I'm not wholly convinced by Mönkmeyer's solo Bach playing, either.

I'm sorry to be critical of what is an adventurous project, but it simply doesn't do it for me.  Maxim Rysanov has shown how good the Cello Suites (including the 5th) can sound on the viola, and I'll be sticking to his recording.

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